Peak Oil Doomers Must Adapt to New Realities or Go Insane
Some doomers have proven themselves able to adapt. They have rolled with the punches and come up singing a new song more closely in tune with real world developments. Andrew McKillop is such an example of a former doomer who started to pay attention to what was happening in the real world:
The Olduvai Gorge theory of Richard Duncan was that human society would be forced back to the anthropoid ape stage of evolution by peak oil and energy scarcity... Duncan's angle, developed in the late 1990s, was that peak oil and energy resource depletion would firstly make inevitable, then speed up this retreat and defeat of Humanity, as human society was forced back to hunting and gathering....But for some peak oil doomers, the money is just too good to pass up. They struggle to keep the faithful within the flock, so as to keep their cash flow coming in. One of those who continues to make a lucrative living off of doom is James Howard Kuntsler. Although he may take a licking from reality's callous slings and arrows, he keeps ticking along with the same old message of doom & collapse:
GOOD BYE PEAK OIL
Duncan's theory was given significant media attention about 10 years ago, and was heavily cited by supporters of the US Gas Cliff theory, promoted by writers including Julien Darley and Michael Ruppert in 2004-2006, and by promoters of Doomsday energy shortage and oil soaring to $200 a barrel, such as Matt Simmons. The Gas Cliff theory, we can note, argued that gas resource depletion was running so fast, that US gas resources would be "practically exhausted" by about 2015. Today, we know that we face a towering cliff of unconventional gas resources - discovered since only 2007. Discoveries of unconventional gas march on and up, implying that probably 200 years, or more, of current world gas consumption are now available as exploitable resources, worldwide.
...Olduvai Gorge theory may have been exciting, to Prince Charles or Bill Clinton, but other changes have happened and are happening in global energy in a global macroeconomic context that itself is changing very fast. These fundamental changes will continue to build going forward, making for the unsurprising forecast of further decline in oil's role in world energy, geopolitics and the economy. This role will gradually erode and fade as the oil price starts to converge, at a lower level, with prices for all other forms and types of energy. Like Hubbert's theory of the 1950s, and the PO theory of 1998-2008, the Olduvai Gorge theory posited ever declining world consumption of oil - dictated by supply side decline. Demand side decline is also possible, in fact current reality, but the mechanism and process of decline and shift, away from oil, are light years away from Olduvai Gorge._Andrew McKillop
Here’s why the shale oil story is not the “game changer” that the wishful claim it is: the price required to get it out of the ground (between $80-90 a barrel) will crush the US economy. Since prices are already in that range, the economy is already being crushed.Kuntsler was very angry at a recent IEA report that predicted that the US would soon out-produce Saudi Arabia in terms of oil production.
The result is an economy in more-or-less permanent contraction. As demand for oil falls with declining economic activity the price of oil falls – below the level that makes it worthwhile to conduct expensive shale oil drilling and fracking operations.
...I have one flat-out prediction, one I have made before but deserves repeating: Japan will be the first society to consciously opt out of being an advanced industrial economy. They have no other apparent choice really, having next-to-zero oil, gas, or coal reserves of their own, and having lost faith in nuclear power. They will be the first country to enter a world made by hand. They were very good at it before about 1850 and had a pre-industrial culture of high artistry and grace – though, granted, all the defects of human psychology.
I don’t think the US can make that transition in an orderly way. We’re too stricken with techno-narcissism and grandiosity...My guess is that being predisposed to superstition and religious fanaticism, the American public will violently reject science and rationality and retreat into a world of shadows.
We’re already well on our way. _JamesHowardKuntsler
Kuntsler feels threatened by the idea that industrial societies may not be on the brink of collapse after all. And he should feel that way. If his many followers begin to doubt his gospel, he may soon lose the greater portion of his income.
The peak oil doom believers are in a quandry. Who are they to believe? Their prophets of doom, or their lying eyes that tell them that -- year after year -- their societies do not seem to be ready to collapse just yet, despite the decades of doom predictions.
For the quasi-religions of overpopulation doom, environmental doom, and energy scarcity doom there is no scarcity of true believers. There is "a sucker born every minute." In a rapidly ageing western society, there is a senile brain born every minute. And these senile brains are ripe for the picking by the doom prophets.
Not to mention the millions of young and dumbed down brains, courtesy of government factories of indoctrination and perpetual incompetence otherwise known as government schools. Abundant fodder for the prophets of doom indeed.
But as the years pass by without such dooms coming to pass -- despite the best efforts of sensationalist news media, opportunistic politicians, and a well-conditioned academia to drum up deep feelings of crisis, doom, and imminent collapse -- a cognitive dissonance tends to set in. Either the true believer will adapt to real trends that break through the cultural smokescreen, or he will begin to lose his ability to reason independently.
Much money is riding on mass belief. Whoever controls public opinion -- and counts the votes -- will stand to gain power and wealth beyond imagining.
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